tv American History TV CSPAN September 17, 2016 9:49pm-10:02pm EDT
caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] you are watching "american history tv," all weekend every weekend on c-span3 . to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. the frederick meyer gardens and sculpture park opened on the northwest side of grand rapids in 1995. the 158 acre campus features indoor and outdoor gardens and sculptures. one of the well-known attractions is the american horse, built by nina ackerman. it was inspired by an unfinished leonardo da vinci sculpture started in the 15th century. with the help of the comcast cable partners, c-span is featuring the city of grand rapids on "american history tv." up next, we take you back in
time to see what grand rapids looks like at the turn of the 20th century. alex forist: we are here in the streets of old grand rapids. this is a public atm. this immersive exhibit is a read creation of what downtown grand rapids would have looked like in the 1890's. there are historic businesses, sort of sounds and sights that you would have expected to see if you are walking around downtown over 100 years ago. we chose to base this on the 1890's because when we first opened it, 1994, representing a period of time that was 100 years ago. the 1890's are also interesting because so much was changed both in terms of grand rapids and the immense growth that was taking , as well ast time
nationwide new inventions like electricity were sort of becoming more widespread, the automobile was just about to be invented, so it was sort of a really interesting time period that we can base the old streets of grand rapids exhibit on. in theibit begins here train station, the union depot, which would have been right in the center of grand rapids, and it was where all of the trains are arrived. it makes sense as sort of an entrance point to the exhibit because anybody that is coming to grand rapids in the 1890's would have arrived by train, and the train station would have been one of the first things that they would have seen. it would have been an incredibly easy, huge, bustling place. there were 10 railroad lines that served grand rapids in the 1890's with dozens of trains arriving and departing every day. people would be arriving in grand rapids from points all over the country. perhaps people who were coming to live here for mostly coming from the east coast. whether they were yankees who
had been in the united states for generations or maybe new immigrants coming from europe, but also people from all over michigan and the midwest were coming to grand rapids. it was 30 -- starting to become a regional hub for michigan. we are standing in the center of downtown grand rapids. this intersection has always been the heart of grand rapids from the earliest days when the city was first founded in the 1830's. what we have done is created a re-creation of what the square might have looked like in the 1890's with a series of different businesses representing different architectural styles, the period , run by real people from grand rapids, different ethnic backgrounds, showing some of the different industries that were around town. the grocery store is run by the kaminsky family, so they would have been polish. by van door for shop is run
dutch immigrants, and the powers opera house is william powers, one of the founders of grand apids, who is what we call yankee from the old stock american from out east who came to grand rapids and set up lots of different businesses here in town, including the entertainment business and the upper house. operaral behind me -- the house. the mural behind me is what the square would have looked like on an afternoon with lots of people behind me. the streetcars are rattling by. by the 1890's, great -- grand rapids has electric streetcars. it was one of the few paved streets in town at that point. some of the big commercial buildings, the wonder building is shown as a six-story building . so this mural is sort of intended to convey the scope of grand rapids in the 1890's,
which really was starting to become quite a large city with close to 80,000 people, and really the regional commercial, economic center for western michigan. inside theding rigell drugstore. this particular drugstore is not from grand rapids. it was originally in michigan, 1960's.as through the the rigell family actually donated the entire drug store and all of its content to the museum, despite the fact it is not a grand rapids's nest. it is one of the more accurate store reproductions we were able to have in the streets of old grand rapids because the rigell drugstore had all the same furnishings as when it was originally built around 1900. the rigell drugstore is kind of in a transition areas period --
transitionary period. the people would have been certified pharmacists with medical knowledge, but they are in a lot of cases, compounding their own prescriptions, medicines in the store. they would've had the ingredients they needed to make a particular medicine and could have put together, right in front of the customer. they also had a lot of off-the-shelf remedies for medicinesings, patent and all sorts of sundries that one might expect to find at a more modern walgreens or cvs today like sodas and postcards, camera film, toothbrushes, all those kind of things would have been available at retail as well. we are standing inside the foyt departmentemmer
store, one of the fixtures for over a century. it started in the 1870's, more as a sort of general store, but really was a transition. transition tothe more specialty stores. by the 1890's, it is an upscale department store modeling itself after similar large businesses in bigger cities around the country where they would sell all sorts of goods for the home, glass, shoes,er, all kinds of sort of upscale department store products. so having a department store like this was one of the signals grand rapids was getting to become a large city as opposed to a small town it had been before. the goods that were sold here
were really more targeted at a middle-class, urban audience, things that are really beyond the sort of groceries and maybe farm implements maybe that would have been more in demand at old-fashioned general store. a store like foyt, in addition to imported goods they would've get from all over the world also was able to feature some products that were made right here in grand rapids. a good example is over here in this carpets and for display. -- sweeper display. sweeper,ted the carpet a wonderful device. it does not use any electricity. you can use to clean your carpets. and as you can see, foyt has a hold advertising display of various different models of different carpet sweeper's that would have been for sale. is this full -- bissell
becoming an international company. this invention was so useful and so popular that is marketed and sold all over the company -- world. it is still in business, based in west michigan. streets of old grand rapids, we are looking at a scene here that is showing grave avenue in grand rapids as the sun is setting on a fall evening. it is sort of a good way to close out the event. we hope that as people finish walking through the exhibit, they will kind of think a little bit about all of the immense changes that would have taken place in grand rapids and all around the country as the 1800s come to a close. you know, you start to get a lot of changes in society that people are having to cope with. really, trying to take a critical look back on the good old days and thinking of, you know, what made them the good old days of?
the automobile had not yet been invented, electricity is just becoming invented, immigrants are coming to the united states from countries all over the isld, ethnic makeup changing. grand rapids is growing tremendously in terms of industry and economy. so it is a period of a lot of change, but sort of a hopeful ending as the sun sets and everyone heads home for the evening. announcer: this weekend we are featuring the history of grand rapids, michigan together with our comcast table partners. learn more about grand rapids and other cities on the city's tour at c-span.org/citiestour.
you are watching "american history tv," all weekend every weekend on c-span3. >> "american history tv's reel , theca," why we fight battle of russia. this 1943 documentary tells the long history of russia's military from the -- 13th century through world war i, then details the soviet war betweennazi germany 1941 and 1943. this is a series of seven films read it during world war ii by hollywood director and u.s. army major frank capra and a team of experienced writers, composers, and technicians. this was to explain to the troops the reasons behind the war is that -- the war effort but were eventually shown to the american public as well. almost 90 minutes, it puts a positive spin on the communist soviet union as a necessary ally in the war against taylor,